Thursday, June 2, 2011

Native American Poem

We have wrapped up our Native American social studies unit last week and I was really happy with the boys final writing pieces they turned in for their final assessment. They were to write three different writing pieces written from three different Native American's perspectives. The first piece they were to write from the perspective of a Native living in Maine before European contact. The second piece was to be written from the perspective of a Native American during European settlement. The last piece was to be written from the perspective of a current day Native American living in Maine.

Quinn wrote three very strong pieces of writing that were like journal entries (they are a bit too long for the blog.) I have been so impressed this year by how much he has grown as a writer. He really enjoyed writing from the perspective of Native Americans because "they love nature and animals just like me."

Dalton went about his writing assignment a different way. He wrote a three part poem telling the perspectives of the Native Americans living in Maine with a bit of a twist. I know I may be biased but I think it is just awesome.

See what you think....

Story Through Time
By D. Burroughs

His voice started strong and proud

“I watch from my village as snow and Ice melt away
For the thirteenth time of my life

My first hunt begins today
As with my ceremony tonight

I go with my father to hunt the drowsy moose
I go with my father to hunt the tired deer
I go with my father to gather springs first berries
I go with my father to catch the river fish

Everything smells different
Everything sounds different
Everything feels different

Tonight I become a man
Tomorrow we’ll go to the Ocean

In our birch bark canoes
We will travel
Down the Penawahpsewi

To our summer island
That offers us shelter
Offers us fish
Offers us a place of serenity

A place away from the winter struggle
A place where we accept natures gift
A place where spring has come
A place where we give back natures gift.”

His voice got deep and sad as he continued,

“The first was Giovanni da Verrazzano
When he came into the Penawahpsewi bay
Seeking Norumbega

They came from the sea on floating islands
With trees straight and still
With leaves stained white as bone

They wanted to trade and make peace with our tribes
But they thought of us as savages

My tribe has fallen into their deadly wars
My tribe has fallen into their numbing drinks
My tribe has fallen into their corruption
Leaving behind us, our culture, and the land

For the white aliens

We try to adapt to the white mans world
Though they reject us for what we are

I don’t understand their lust for land
Or their distant kings and queens

I am but one of the few who has kept my culture
For the rest want the life of a white man

I am barley a man
But I know that the white men bring destruction and imbalance
So I have kept my culture.”

He sighed as he continued the last part of the story,

“Our people have melted into modern society
Into modern currency
Into modern government

Our Horses have become cars
Wigwams are houses
Food comes from boxes

We’ve been put on this reservation
But we make the best of it

We are poor with money
Rich with culture
Poor in the eyes of society
Rich with each other

They discriminate us in schools
Because of our heritage
Our skin
Our culture

The United States of America
Gave us land to live on and be together

The land is not ours or theirs
Land is land and will always be land

Even our beliefs are put to a test by science
The moon and sun are not sacred anymore
just one more moon and sun in the galaxy, the universe

Ideas are now to big for mind to imagine
Life is not simple anymore

I end with telling you what is important
Having each other, our culture and our respect for the land”

He ended the story, with a smile full of warmth and comfort, with the bitter sweetness recognition for what we have been put through, yet we are still here.

1 comment:

  1. Susan MacPhersonJune 6, 2011 at 4:38 PM

    This is very powerful. Thank you Dalton!